When the weather gets nice, we naturally want to spend more time outside. Having outdoor speakers on the patio or in the backyard is one of the best investments you can make because it gives you a variety of entertainment options. Whether you’re hosting birthday parties or relaxing on a Sunday afternoon, everything’s better with music.
With that in mind, is it time to get outdoor speakers? If so, which kind and how many? To help you decide, let’s break down everything you need to know about outdoor speakers.
Benefits of outdoor speakers
Let’s begin with the why. Why do I need outdoor speakers? As someone with an outdoor speaker installed on my backyard deck, I’m perfectly qualified to answer this question.
Outdoor speakers set the mood
First, outdoor speakers allow you to set the mood, tone, and ambiance, especially during social gatherings. When I host BBQs, I let my guests play DJ off their phones or my tablet.
Nothing puts people in a better mood than letting them play their favourite songs with a cold drink in hand. Music brings us together, and if you play the right song at the right time, an impromptu dance party can ensue. I speak from experience.
You can listen to podcasts outside
Second, outdoor speakers allow you to consume content outside. I use my outdoor speaker to listen to my favorite podcasts while I’m gardening and doing yard work. With an outdoor speaker, it’s easy to share music, radio, and podcast experiences with others.
Voice control, right in your backyard
I also have an outdoor TV connected to a smart plug and Google Chromecast. While I’m barbecuing, I use Google Assistant to turn the TV on and play shows on YouTube and Netflix. As I’m barbecuing, I love to show my friends this hands-free smart home trick. I call it “Netflix and Grill”.
Outdoor speaker water resistance
With so many portable Bluetooth speakers on the market, one may assume that any speaker can be used outdoors. When it comes to water, rain, or the occasional splash, not all speakers are created equal. Remember waterproof and water-resistant are not the same thing. This article tells you everything you need to know about the weatherproof ratings for speakers.
Even in covered areas outdoors, speakers can be affected by the moisture in the air. Some portable speakers are designed for indoor, outdoor, or both. It’s important to know the water resistance and waterproof protection of any speaker before you bring it outside.
Watt requirements for outdoor speakers
Outdoor speakers typically have a wide range of wattage, ranging from 60 watts to 300 watts. Deciding on your watt requirements depends on the space you’re trying to fill with sound and the number of outdoor speakers you intend to use.
When deciding what speaker wattage to get, think about your neighbours. Unless you’re trying to start an outdoor nightclub, any speaker over 200 watts will likely be heard by others nearby. I would play it safe and ensure the max volume of your speaker setup doesn’t disrupt those around you.
How many speakers do you need for an outdoor space?
Every outdoor space is different but there some tricks you can use to figure out how many speakers you need. For a 400 square feet patio, a pair of 80-watt outdoor speakers like the Polk Audio Atrium should do the trick. That would give you a total of 160-watts of sound.
For small patios, a single speaker should work fine, especially for background music. The benefit of using a pair of speakers is getting stereo sound. This is done by positioning the speakers to the left and right of the main seating area. If you’re covering an area less than 300 feet, try to keep the speakers about 20 feet apart for optimal coverage.
Personally, I don’t like to listen to loud music outside. If you have to talk louder than normal, the music is too loud. I also don’t recommend positioning the speakers right at the main seating area. Instead, install the speakers above the seating area without directing them downward. The top area is filled with sound, but you can still talk without having to speak loudly. Remember this isn’t a club, it’s your backyard.
If you’re trying to cover a large outdoor space, like an entire backyard perimeter, I recommend rock speakers. They blend in with the environment and can fill any space up sonically, without annoying the neighbors.
Setting up outdoor speakers
In the past, all outdoor speakers were wired connections and typically required professional installations. The speakers would connect to an amplifier where the volume, EQ, and bass could be adjusted. If you’re building or renovating, using wired speakers is still a great option. Unless you’re getting them professionally installed, you will need some DIY skills to wire it up properly. In most cases, it’s just standard speaker wire with weatherproof connections. No one wants to see the speaker wire, so do your best to hide it out of sight.
Wireless or wired outdoor speakers?
New wireless speakers provide endless configuration options for virtually any outdoor space. For most people, this is what I recommend. You can place wireless speakers virtually anywhere in the home, and take them with you on the go.
Look for wireless speakers that allow up to two simultaneous Bluetooth connections. This allows you to let two people play DJ off their phones. I also recommend looking for wireless speakers that can connect to other wireless speakers like the JBL Charge 5. You can start with one speaker, and then add an additional speaker later for stereo sound.
Most wireless speakers are battery-powered, giving you lots of flexibility on where you place it. If you have an outdoor power source, I recommend getting a smart speaker. Being able to play music via voice commands is very enjoyable outdoors. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I highly recommend others to consider it as well.
There are also a variety of party speakers you can choose from. Some have different modes so you can plug in your guitar or microphone, and you can use the lights and karaoke mode at your next party.
Add a bit of music to the great outdoors
If you have an outdoor space and want to spend more quality time there, outdoor speakers are the way to go. You can find a wide selection of wired, wireless, and smart speakers on Best Buy.